CHATHAM, Mass. – “LARGER THAN LIFE” headlines Infiniti’s website page for the QX80, and after a week of piloting a Sensory-trim version on the cold roads of Cape Cod, it was obviously the perfect description of the luxury brand’s flagship sport-utility vehicle (SUV).
The three-row large-SUV segment — which includes this 210-inch-long Infiniti – saw sales grow by 30 percent in 2021 (when compared to 2020) indicating a continuous increasing desire for the capability of such vehicles, whether for the interior room of up to seven or eight occupants or the ability to tow heavier loads thanks to larger engines and body-on-frame architecture.
You sit high in the QX80, with great visibility through large windows all around. Headroom seems limitless; the center console is wide enough for the transmission selector to be flanked by the cupholders and four-wheel-drive selector; the front seats are wide, and the front-door pockets full-sized. This adds up to an interior that reinforces the “LARGER THAN LIFE” experience in a capacious cabin.
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The truck drives large, but never uncomfortably so thanks to a comprehensive suite of advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS), great visibility, solid power and a controlled chassis.
ADAS shines amongst extensive safety components
Standard across the three-version range of the Infiniti QX80 is an ADAS suite comprised of Forward Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection; Predictive Forward Collision Warning; Rear Cross Traffic Alert; Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection and Front and Rear Sonar; Blind Spot Warning; Blind Spot Intervention™ system; Lane Departure Prevention system, and Trailer Sway Control.
The Around View Monitor, which allows front, as well as rear, and above views from the camera system when parking is an especially helpful ADAS feature with a vehicle this size (in addition to the 210 in. in length, 79.9 in. in width and 75.8 in. in height).
An additional camera transforms the standard Smart Rearview Mirror from a traditional reflective glass to a monitor which allows complete, unobstructed views of following traffic regardless of whether people and stuff in the cabin are blocking the rear window.
The standard safety systems include the INFINITI Advanced Air Bag System dual-stage supplemental front air bags with seatbelt and occupant classification sensors; driver and front passenger seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags; roof-mounted side-impact supplemental curtain air bags with rollover sensor for outboard occupant head protection in all three rows; front seat belt pretensioners and load limiters; driver and front passenger knee airbags; second-row seat belt pretensioner and Front Seat Active Head Restraints. And the Sensory trim like we sampled adds Front Pre-Crash Seatbelts which tighten the belts when a crash is imminent.
Moving the QX80
The old-fashioned burble of a V8 engine announces the QX80’s muscle. The 5.6-liter, double overhead camshaft design produces 400 horsepower and 413 pounds-feet of torque, enough strength to pull an 8,500-pound trailer.
A seven-speed automatic transmission sends this power through the INFINITI All-Mode 4WD® (four-wheel drive) with computer-controlled transfer case, offering settings in Auto, 4H and 4L. Normally a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, when in Auto the computer monitors road conditions and determines when to engage four-wheel drive.
Electronic traction control and a snow-driving mode are also part of the package.
The suspension features an independent double-wishbone setup front and rear, with the rear’s having self-leveling capability to keep things stable regardless of load or trailering.
Power assisted four-wheel disc brakes with 13.78-inch ventilated rotors front and rear (dual-piston calipers in the front, single floating calipers in the rear), anti-lock (ABS) and brake assist bring the QX80 to a sure stop.
Luxury amenities a key to QX80 appeal
Infiniti is Nissan’s luxury brand, the QX80 is its SUV flagship, and the Sensory trim is its boldest version, so virtually no amenity has been overlooked.
The seats are semi-aniline leather-appointed seats with the first two rows of captain’s chairs heated (the fronts also ventilated and power adjustable) and the third-row’s split 60/40 with power folding. Also heated is the leather and walnut wrapped, power-adjustable steering wheel.
New for 2022 is a revised center cluster offering a 12.3-inch high-definition INFINITI InTouch display for infotainment. The screen renders sharp and clear information, including navigation guidance, for all occupants of the QX80 and features wireless Apple CarPlay and USB-based Android Auto compatibility as well as AM/FM/SiriusXM satellite radio/streaming Bluetooth audio sources for entertainment.
The Sensory version includes a 17-speaker — including two subwoofers — Bose® Performance Audio system pumping out the sound from the primary infotainment system.
Keeping passengers occupied in the middle row are twin headrest-mounted, eight-inch screens of the Rear Seat Entertainment system.
Widescreen navigation with lane guidance is standard on all 2022 QX80s, including five-year complimentary access to traffic and MapCare.
A Wi-Fi hotspot to connect multiple devices is included (subscription sold separately after 30-day complimentary trial) and a wireless smartphone charger is included as well, offering easy charging on the go for compatible smartphones and other devices.
The cost of going large
Big, powerful and luxurious means making tradeoffs in terms of fuel economy. The Infiniti QX80 Sensory carries a federal Environmental Protection Agency rating of 15 miles per gallon in overall driving (13 mpg city, 19 highway) and we saw 15 mpg during our time. I was not parsimonious with the gas pedal, using the big V8 to merge onto the highway and get around traffic, so the figure neither surprised nor upset me.
As a flagship for a luxury brand in the large-SUV segment, the $84,850 base price for the virtually fully equipped QX80 was no surprise. The as-reviewed price totaled $87,895 (thanks to $1,395 destination charge and ancillary accessories like roof-rack cross rails and two lighting packages).
The price is high, but also competitive with the other entrants in this category (some of which exceed the $100,000 barrier).
The 2022 Infiniti QX80 Sensory provides what it promises – a LARGER THAN LIFE luxurious experience for those who want and need its SUV capabilities in a fully equipped, comfortable environment.